“How Disqualification Can Quickly Improve Winning Negotiation Strategies” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Disqualification can be a disguised blessing that reveals unforeseen opportunities.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“How Disqualification Can Quickly Improve

Winning Negotiation Strategies”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Before you negotiate, what winning negotiation strategies do you create as part of your plans? Do you consider how you might use the ‘disqualification’ tactic as part of your strategy? Disqualification negotiation is somewhat akin to the takeaway tactic – the latter being where you reclaim something you conceded to use for leverage.

The disqualification tactic can invoke greater compliance than the takeaway, especially if you have less power in the negotiation. Because when used right, the last thing an opponent expects when you have less influence is them being disqualified by you. Here is how you can use the disqualification tactic to create more winning negotiation strategies.

Winning Negotiation Strategies

Depending on your negotiation situation, one strategy or a combination of several will get you to the negotiation finish line quicker than others. The following are a few negotiation tactics and how to add the disqualification factor to enhance the negotiation’s outcome.


Master negotiators have differing opinions about how negotiators should use anchors. One theory states that the first negotiator that initiates a pricepoint anchors the other negotiator and has an advantage.

The opposite view is, if you know you are negotiating with a weaker skilled negotiator, let that person make the first offer. Knowing you have superior negotiation skills, you can use your opponent’s offering to your advantage.

In either situation, you can disqualify his offer and use it to weaken his position. To do so, wait for one of two situations to occur.

1. The negotiation is flowing nicely, and you want a critical concession. You might state, “I appreciate how well you have worked with me. But there is one item I must have.” With that statement, you have gently discounted the concessions your opposite has made while being graceful in your mannerisms to request something in addition. 

2. You are negotiating with a negotiator that only cares about his gains at your expense. The two of you scrap for every slight increase in the negotiation.

At a strategic point, let the other negotiator know you will no longer negotiate in the manner he has engaged. By doing that, you will disqualify his negotiation style. Make sure to employ this tactic when you are in a stronger position than your opponent. If not, your situation can become weakened.

Nevertheless, employing either of these tactics will increase the probability of you having more winning negotiation strategies with more favorable outcomes.

Gains Versus Losses

Use disqualification negotiation and embolden winning negotiation strategies by how you represent gains and losses. To do this, highlight the gains your opponent has achieved while minimizing yours. Do the opposite with losses – highlight yours and minimize his. The goal is to disqualify your counterpart’s concessions while highlighting those you have made. You want him to be laser-focused on what you have conceded.

In having him focused on your concessions, he should become more agreeable to making more concessions. This tactic will work best when negotiating with someone that engages in a win-win versus the win-lose style of negotiations. If you are dealing with a negotiator using a win-lose negotiation style, attempt to achieve the goal of your effort when he is most susceptible to granting your request. His goodwill will be fleeting. 

Be Precise, Or Not, With Numbers

You may be familiar with the cliché, “Liars figure, but figures don’t lie.” When negotiating, if you wish to impress the other negotiator or exaggerate something using figures, use rounded numbers (e.g., 100 – 1,000 – 10,000, etc.). Even though 99 is one less than 100, 100 sounds more impressive than 99.

When subliminally conveying a lack of flexibility, or displaying more exactitude, use precise figures (e.g., $99.33). The message this sends is, I am specific; there is not much room for haggling.

Suffice it to say, when using numbers to represent your position, always consider how best they can serve you. And remember, using them at the appropriate time will improve the winning negotiation strategies when coupled with disqualification negotiation.


You can employ many ploys to enhance your winning negotiation strategies. Sometimes, disqualifying your opponent is the only way to achieve that goal. Thus, using disqualification negotiation will aid you in your quest.

So, add the disqualification tactic to your negotiation repertoire. To make negotiation outcomes more substantial, that is what I do. If you do, too, you will experience more winning negotiation strategies that bring forth more winning negotiation outcomes. And everything will be right with the world. 

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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